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An original ruleset accompanied by a Victorian setting with Gothic horror, steampunk, mystery, and fantasy elements.
An original ruleset accompanied by a Victorian setting with Gothic horror, steampunk, mystery, and fantasy elements.
60 backers pledged $1,700 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Update #3

Here's a PDF example of play to show everyone how the game actually functions.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5cMsfFSSnnDeHJvWnotS05QODg/edit?usp=sharing

Update #2

Here's a PDF sample of the setting/story. It's for anyone who wants to really get a sense of the game's backstory.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5cMsfFSSnnDVkp6U1RNTm9QSTQ/edit?usp=sharing

Update #1

There's a PDF sample of the rules, including the WIP How to Play section:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5cMsfFSSnnDbzgyeVBhZzAxSDA/edit?usp=sharing

What is Inscrutable Puzzlements?

In a nutshell: Inscrutable Puzzlements is a game of mystery and adventure set against a unique backdrop. The setting isn't your typical fantasy or scifi tabletop story. There are no levels, and players can build any type of character that they desire. The simple yet incredibly flexible d4-10 system makes combat quicker and characters more customizable. The final product will be around 100 pages and available in PDF or Print on Demand in black and white.

The setting is a warped mirror or our own Earth's history. There are familiar events and places, but they might have taken place at different times or be skewed slightly. The year is 1879 and the world has just went through the Grand War, which involved all the major nations of the world. Supernatural creatures stalk the streets, hidden cabals of warlocks practice dark arts, armies march against each other using deadly steam-powered armaments, and ancient evils lurk beneath the surface of the world.

Heroes of different backgrounds band together into adventuring agencies to take on all manner of dangerous and intriguing cases. These cases can consist of clearing a faraway village of vampires, solving a murder mystery aboard a steamboat, racing against a powerful sorcerer to stop him from summoning a dark god, or simply protecting a traveling politician from a roving band of doppelgangers who are attempting to rule the world.

Features

  • 4 cases (basically one-shot adventures) ready to be used straight from the book.
  • 12 different backgrounds for characters including: Bartitsu Master, Big Game Hunter, Combat Medic, Consulting Detective, Cowboy, Curio Peddler, Eccentric Inventor, Gentleman Pugilist, Lumberjack, Mystic, Pygoomi Shaman, and Scoundrel.
  • A complete, ready to use setting.
  • Bestiary of enemies ready to be inserted into any case with quick and easy rules for scaling enemies or creating new ones.
  • Boon/Flaw system to allow for complete customization of characters. Want to be a mystical lumberjack who shoots bolts of lightning and flies into berserker rages? Go for it.
  • New ruleset that emphasizes storytelling and gives much more power to the GM.
  • Original artwork in a wide range of diverse styles.
  • Support past production. Open communication directly with the developer for questions about the system as well as periodic freebies to enhance your sessions!

The system was designed so that there is not a rule for every single action a character can undertake, which gets ponderous and leads to rule checking sessions. There are, instead, guidelines for how actions should be undertaken.

Each character has a set of skills that have a value of d4, d6, d8, or d10 and most skill attempts are opposed rolls with another character. This alleviates a lot of "spreadsheeting" common in most other tabletop rpgs. There are also no levels or experience.

Characters undertake cases, and for every case they complete they gain a point to spend on skills or buy a boon with. Boons give characters powerful abilities (magical cantrips, the ability to dual wield, a pact with a demonic entity, or the ability to teleport in darkness) that help differentiate them from other characters. A player will not be limited to a certain playstyle, as the background that the character chooses is much more flexible than a class-based system.

The main goal of this system is to take away a lot of the bookkeeping and make way for the story. The system is simple and easy to learn, but it is also deep enough for those who live to min-max and break games. The GM in a d4-10 game is much more powerful than in other games as they make up most things on the spot and are far less susceptible to rules lawyers.

Who's Making Inscrutable Puzzlements?

Green Dwarf Productions: The personal imprint of Mark Bolin. The goal of Green Dwarf is to create unique worlds and help facilitate excellent storytelling.

Mark Bolin: Mark is a longtime DM and player of tabletops. This is his first attempt at publishing a work, but is by no means his first custom system. He holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Education.

Why Do We Need Money?

Artwork! Mostly. The core rules are finished and are in the playtesting phase. The story needs to be fleshed out, but the skeleton plot is there. We want to be able to commission more excellent art (like the examples found here) to truly bring this work to life. We especially want to be able to pay top dollar for front/back cover art.

Stretch Goals

Every bit of money over the goal we get will be spent on commissioned artwork, but here are some extras we will throw in:

UNLOCKED! 4 new backgrounds, 2 new cases, and an expanded bestiary. Expanded story sections throughout.

UNLOCKED! A professional hired to do layout design/graphics to class up the final product. 

$1,700: More stuffs! Backgrounds and rules added that let you play as the creatures that go bump in the night including: hellspawn, ghouls, vampires, and werewolves. New, special boons added for these backgrounds as well.

$2,500: An extra, completely original setting using the d4-10 system. That's right, you'd essentially get two games for the price of 1! The setting will be stone age fantasy complete with new backgrounds, equipment, and adventures (cases).

Anything beyond this point will be spent to commission even more artwork and further compensate writers/editors.

Risks and challenges

The system is essentially done except for flavor elements. It might possibly be delayed because of playtesting, as we might find some flaws as we get down to the process of testing every single facet of the system. However, there have already been countless hours spent balancing the system.
There could also be delays because of the nature of art commissions and working with other professionals.
If there are any delays, I will swiftly post some free supplements on the website for free download asap after publication to help make up for any harsh feelings.

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    PDF Edition: You will receive a PDF of Inscrutable Puzzlements as soon as it is published.

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    PDF/Print Edition Early Backer Reward: Receive the book in black and white print and a PDF at a special price because you're awesome.

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    Print/PDF Bundle: Receive a black and white print and PDF copy of Inscrutable Puzzlements as soon as it is released.

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    Playtester Bundle: Receive the Print/PDF bundle and also access to a regularly updated playtest copy of the PDF. This will be essentially a rough draft, but will allow you to be part of the playtesting experience and receive a special credit in the final product.

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    Hardback Edition: Receive a special black and white hardback copy of Inscrutable Puzzlements as soon as it is published, along with a PDF and playtester access. This hardback will only be available through this kickstarter!

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    Storyteller Edition: You receive a hardback copy, playtester access, and the PDF. Also, a character design artist will be commissioned to illustrate your character concept (or a stylized version of yourself) so that the character can be made part of the setting's narrative or used as an example character.

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    Scholar Edition: You receive everything from the Storyteller Edition, and you also get to write your own description of a location or event that happens in the game's narrative or timeline. Alternatively, you can create an artifact to be added in the GM's equipment section of the book.

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    Tavern Edition: You receive everything from the Scholar Edition, and you are also entitled to one full playthrough of a completely original case GMed by the creator of the game. This case will not be published or included in any other deal. The session will be face to face if you live nearby, video chat if you do not. If you're short on people, we can find some. You will also receive two printed softcover editions of the book to share with friends.

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    Super Patron Edition: You get everything from the Tavern Edition, and you will also receive, in print, every addon or expansion published for this setting/ruleset. In addition, you will receive the very first hardback copy that is sent out. The hardback will be hand-signed and in full color.

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Funding period

- (30 days)